House committee passes bill to extend COVID liability protections 
The House Special Committee on Access to the Civil Justice System passed a bill (H.B. 112) by Rep. Trey Kelley (R-Cedartown) that would extend the COVID-19 liability protections that were enacted by the state in 2020 by one year (i.e., until July 14, 2022). MAG supports this legislation, which will go to the House Rules Committee as a next step.
Senate HHS passes two key health care bills 
The Senate Health and Human Services Committee (HHS) passed two key health care bills that were introduced by Sen. Kay Kirkpatrick, M.D. (R-Marietta) this week. 
This includes S.B. 4, which would 1) “prohibit kickbacks, commissions, bribes, benefits, rebates, and bonuses by substance abuse providers or solicited by substance abuse providers to induce referral of a patient and outlaws fraudulent marketing techniques designed to deceive individuals into expensive long term recovery facilities” and 2) prohibit “high-tech drug testing” (i.e., testing an individual’s specimen for numerous substances and billing and receiving payment separately for each substance that is tested). MAG is neutral on this legislation. 
Meanwhile, S.B. 5 would 1) require the Georgia Composite Medical Board to establish rules and regulations for the in-office use of sedation in “MediSpas” and 2) prohibit anyone who doesn’t have a license to practice dentistry to administer conscious sedation in a dental facility or during the practice of dentistry in a MediSpa. MAG supports this legislation. 
Both bills are headed to the Senate Rules Committee. 
Prior authorization measure among week’s new bills
Some important health care bills that were introduced in the Georgia General Assembly this week include…
S.B. 80, a bill by Sen. Kay Kirkpatrick, M.D. (R-Marietta) that would improve the prior authorization process in Georgia by 1) requiring insurers and PBMs to be more transparent about the prior authorization process and requiring them to notify the applicable stakeholders when they change their prior authorization process or requirements and 2) requiring prior authorization determinations and appeals decisions to be made by a physician who is in the same specialty and 3) requiring insurers to respond to prior authorization requests within two business days for non-urgent care and within 24 hours for urgent care and 4) preventing insurers and PBMs from revoking, denying, or changing a prior authorization approval for 45 days and requiring payment when a prior authorization is granted and 5) keeping prior authorization approvals for chronic/long-term care in place for one year. MAG supports this legislation, which was assigned to the Senate Insurance and Labor Committee.
S.B. 82, a bill by Sen. Michelle Au, M.D. (D-Duluth) that would prohibit insurers from denying coverage for emergency care based solely on the final diagnosis. MAG supports this measure, which was assigned to the Senate Insurance and Labor Committee.
S.B. 83, a bill by Sen. Sally Harrell (D-Atlanta) that would create a health insurance option for patients who are not eligible for Medicare, Medicaid or the PeachCare for Kids Program. MAG is reviewing this legislation, which was assigned to the Senate Appropriations Committee.
H.B. 147, a bill by Rep. Heath Clark (R-Warner Robbins) that would allow health care licensure by endorsement for individuals who 1) hold a license to “practice such occupation or profession issued by another state that was acquired prior to moving from another state and establishing residency in this state for which the training, experience, and testing are substantially similar in qualifications and scope to the requirements under this state to obtain a license” and 2) are “in good standing in such other state” and 3) “passes any examination that may only be required to demonstrate knowledge of the laws and rules and regulations of this state specific to the practice of the profession, business, or trade for which such license by endorsement is being sought.” MAG is reviewing this legislation, which was assigned to the House Regulated Industries Committee. It is also worth noting that Sen. Bruce Thompson introduced a similar bill in the Senate (S.B. 45), which was referred to the Senate Regulated Industries and Utilities Committee.
H.B. 163, a bill by Rep. Sharon Cooper (R-Marietta) that would require the Georgia Department of Community Health (DCH) to submit a plan to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to get approval to implement an “express lane” enrollment feature for Medicaid and direct the Georgia Department of Human Services to automatically enroll and renew eligible children in Medicaid based on application data it receives for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. MAG supports this legislation, which was referred to the House Health and Human Services (HHS) Committee.
H.B. 164, a bill by Rep. Demetrius Douglas (D-Stockbridge) that would require health insurers to provide their enrollees with no less than 80 percent of the prescription drug rebates that are related to the enrollee’s prescriptions that the insurer receives from third parties. MAG supports this legislation, which was referred to the House Special Committee on Access to Quality Health Care Committee.
H.B. 213, a bill by Rep. Mary Robichaux (D-Roswell) that would repeal the state’s nurse protocol requirements and allow APRNs to practice on an independent basis, including writing prescriptions for Schedule II drugs. MAG opposes this bill, which was assigned to the House HHS Committee.
H.B. 215, a bill by Rep. Robichaux that would require DCH to 1) make the telehealth options waivers that were established during the pandemic permanent and 2) create a system to certify, recertify, and train telehealth providers. MAG supports this legislation, which was assigned to the House HHS Committee.
H.B. 234, a bill by Rep. Lee Hawkins (R-Gainesville) that would allow self-funded health care plans – which are exempt from state regulations as a result of federal law – to opt into Georgia’s Surprise Billing Consumer Protection Act (2020’s H.B. 888). MAG supports this legislation, which was referred to the House Special Committee on Access to Quality Health Care. 
H.B. 255, a bill by Rep. Scott Holcomb (D-Atlanta) that would 1) “provide for the retention of evidence of sexual assault when the victim chooses not to immediately report the assault and provide for a sexual assault case tracking system” and 2) “require law enforcement agencies to enter certain information into the Violent Criminal Apprehension Program established and maintained by the Federal Bureau of Investigation” and 3) “create the Forensic Medical Examination Advisory Committee to sexual assault nurse examiners as a condition for reimbursements” and 4) “require the Georgia Composite Medical Board to refuse, suspend, or revoke the license of a physician who has committed a sexual assault on a patient” and 5) “require mandatory reporting by health care professionals who have reasonable cause to believe that a physician has committed a sexual assault on a patient” and 6) “provide for annual reporting to the General Assembly of the number of physicians investigated or disciplined for the sexual assault of patients.” MAG is reviewing this legislation, which has been assigned to the House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee. 
H.B. 261, a bill by Rep. Todd Jones (R-Cumming) that would establish a pilot program to conduct a simulated exchange for health care facilities to purchase and sell charity care credits to meet their charity care requirements. MAG is reviewing this legislation, which has been assigned to the House Human Relations & Aging Committee.
H.B. 268, a bill by Rep. Bill Werkheiser (R-Glennville) that would allow Georgia to participate in the Occupational Therapy Licensure Compact Act. MAG is reviewing this legislation, which has been assigned to the House Regulated Industries Committee.
– H.B. 271, a bill by Rep. Bert Reeves (R-Marietta) that would allow DCH to assess a fee on providers who operate ambulance services to obtain federal financial participation for Medicaid. MAG is reviewing this legislation, which has been assigned to the House HHS Committee.
H.B. 290, a bill by Rep. Ed Setzler (R-Acworth) that would prohibit hospitals or nursing homes from instituting policies that limit a patient’s designated family members or friends from visiting them when they are hospitalized or being treated for more than 24 hours, including during a declared public health emergency. The legislation would allow facilities to establish reasonable safety requirements, although “at least two designated family members or friends [would be] authorized for visitation and visitation [would be] authorized for no less than two hours per day.” This measure also includes liability protections. MAG is reviewing the legislation, which has been assigned to the House Human Relations and Aging Committee. 
MAG encouraging members to register for virtual ‘Day at the Capitol’
The Medical Association of Georgia (MAG) is encouraging its members to register for the 2021 ‘Physicians’ Day at the Capitol,’ which will be a virtual event that takes from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, February 17.
The free event will feature key leaders from the Georgia House and Senate.
“In addition to giving physicians a unique opportunity to cultivate relationships with their hometown legislators, this year’s event will feature some regional breakout sessions,” says MAG Government Relations Director Derek Norton. “Physicians will have a chance to educate legislators on the best ways to enhance the state’s health care system.”
The breakout sessions will cover a variety of key topics, including COVID-19 relief, vaccines, health insurance reform, and rural health care.
Click here to log into your MAG membership account to register for this event.
Registrants will receive a Zoom meeting link on February 16 – the day before the event.
Contact Christiana Craddock at 404.421.0912 or with questions about the event.
Contact Dawn Williams at 678.303.9261 or for help using MAG’s membership system.
MAG thanks & applauds this week's ‘Doctor of the Day’ volunteers
MAG is thanking and applauding the physicians who have served as its ‘Doctor of the Day’ volunteers for the week of February 1, which include…
Kelly DeGraffenreid, M.D.
Florence LeCraw, M.D.
Carmen Echols, M.D.
MAG Doctor of the Day volunteers work in the Medical Aid Station at the state Capitol. They provide free minor medical care to legislators and their staff.

Go to for additional information on the MAG ‘Doctor of the Day’ program, including logistical details and FAQ. 
MAG’s 2021 legislative priorities

COVID-19 Relief

– Providing relief and assistance for Georgia’s physicians and patients during the COVID-19 pandemic
Health Insurance

– Streamlining and improving the prior authorization process

– Promoting insurance coverage of non-narcotic alternative therapies

– Ensuring that patients have access to every physician who is advertised as “in network” for the duration of a contract year to ensure continuity of care

Tax Credits for Uncompensated Care

– Creating tax credits for physicians who provide uncompensated care

Public Health

– Increasing Georgia’s tobacco tax to improve public health


– Continuing to support the process to ensure coverage of the uninsured
Scope of Practice

– Addressing scope of practice issues that undermine patient safety

Tort Reform

– Addressing Georgia’s tort environment, including exploring CANDOR (Communication and Optimal Resolution)
Follow MAG at the Capitol 24/7 
Whether you are using a laptop or a tablet or a handheld device, you can always get the latest state legislative news in Georgia by following MAG on Twitter at, on Facebook at, or by visiting
MAG’s Government Relations Team 
Derek Norton – Director or 404.274.4210  
Bethany Sherrer – Legal Counsel & GAMPAC Manager or 404.354.1863  
Christiana Craddock – Legislative Assistant or 678.303.9271
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